“How are you?”
It’s a seemingly innocent question, and one that, unless you know the person really well, always comes with the same answer.
“I’m good, thanks, how are you?”
Or, perhaps, if you’re having a great week (or you’ve run into an ex), you tweak the answer slightly.
“I’m really good, thanks!” or even “I’m great, thank you.”
Or maybe, if you live in London, or NYC, or Toronto, or just about any other big city in the world, or probably even some smaller cities, too, or perhaps even the countryside, or I guess just everyone I speak to these days, you say this:
“I’m good thanks, super busy,” or “Yeah, good, but really busy,” or “Good, thanks, but so busy I don’t remember the last time I slept for longer than four hours and my back always hurts and sometimes I forget if I’ve eaten lunch so let’s just stand here and laugh for a little while so I can forget about my ever-growing list of things to do and all those unanswered emails.”
OK, so maybe that last one is a slight exaggeration. But over the last few years, I’ve heard myself give some variation of that answer to different people, whether they’re friends, acquaintances, coworkers, or someone in between. I’ve also written about it a lot on this blog. When did I get so obsessed with being so busy?